Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bath firefighters train to save themselves

The interior firefighters of the Bath Volunteer Fire Department spent their weekend training, not that this is unusual, but normally they train to save the lives of those who call them for help. This weekend volunteers trained to save their own lives in the event they get trapped on an upper floor of a fire with no other way out. It is recommended by the State that some type of a bail out system be given to each interior firefighter. Public Information Officer John Conrad Sr. said the Bath Fire Department recently purchased the commercial Sterling F4 Escape Kit. This goes along with new bunker gear which has harnesses incorporated into the bunker pants.

Christian Delisio and Pat McNamee are State Fire Instructors and retired FDNY firefighters, who gave the training this weekend. Chris helped with the research, designed and testing of a system with the FDNY that a firefighter can use as a last resort only, to bail out of a window from an upper floor in the event they become trapped with no other way to escape. They developed the bailout system after a routine call at a tenement fire when six of their fellow firefighters got trapped on the fifth floor. They called a mayday and requested a ladder to the rear of the building but by the time the truck got there all six had jumped out the windows to the ground below. Two were killed and the other four had life altering injuries that placed them on disability the rest of their lives.

Friday night was spent in the classroom with a lecture and gear inspection. Conrad said Saturday morning was train the trainers and practicing going out of the upper floors at the Steuben County Training Center tower and then the remainder of Saturday and Sunday to train the rest of the interior firefighters. The rope system is kept in the firefighters pocket and deployed in an emergency. A metal hook is placed on a pipe, wall stud or if necessary just the window sill and while holding the hook with one hand and then going out through the window head first and then bringing the rest of your body out and hang from the rope. A descender is already in place which keeps them from dropping. Then the firefighter just squeezes the lever to start their descent to safety on the ground. In the photos you see safety lines being used, which are their during the real deal..